Police in the Chechen capital, Djohar, yesterday removed the remains of seventeen people from the cellar of a city kindergarten. The bodies were discovered by children playing nearby. Relatives of people who disappeared without trace in the battles for Grozny in August 1996 are being invited to identify the remains. The kindergarten is located next to City Hospital No. 9, which was occupied in August 1996 by a detachment of Russian federal forces. Chechnya’s Deputy Prosecutor General, Magomed Magomadov, said yesterday that the bodies are believed to be those of civilians shot by Russian troops for refusing to serve as human shields for Russian soldiers wishing to break out of encirclement. The Chechen authorities intend to appeal to the Russian Prosecutor General for assistance in ascertaining the names of the commanders of the federal troops who were stationed near Hospital No. 9. Moscow’s reaction to Magomadov’s statement is not yet known. (NTV, August 5)
MASKHADOV IN WASHINGTON.